home automation and security
When we reviewed the Pulse system, our upfront cost was more than $3,000, with a monthly fee of over $60. Some vendors, such as LifeShield, will let you buy the components outright or lease them. For example, LifeShield's Security Essentials system will cost you $29. 99 per month for three years and includes monitoring, but you'll pay a $99 activation
fee and you don't own the equipment at the end of the lease. Or, you can pay $299. 99 upfront for the hardware and still get monitoring but avoid the activation fee. If you live in a small apart
ment and want to keep tabs on things when you're not home, a security camera can get the job done for a lot less money than what you'll pay for a full security system. Nearly all standalone security cameras connect to your home's Wi Fi so you can see what's going on from your phone or tablet, and most have built in sensors that detect motion and sound and will send push and email notifications when those sensors are triggered. You can usually tweak the camera's motion sensitivity to prevent false alarms due to pet activity or passing cars if the camera is near a window, and you can create a schedule that turns the sensors on and off during certain hours of the day. A smart lock is typically part of a robust smart home security setup, but you don't have to invest in a full blown system to use one. If you're using a home automation hub to control things like lighting and thermostats, you can add a Z Wave or Zigbee smart lock to the system without much effort.